Federal government taking steps to improve payments

Government payments are heavily scrutinized, and rightfully so. Taxpayers have a right to know about publicly funded expenditures, which is why many federal, state and local government offices are working to become more transparent and cut wasteful spending.

According to a report coming from the White House, the federal government has avoided $47 billion in improper payments over the past three years. This has dropped its payment error rate to 4.3 percent, a substantial drop from the previous high of 5.4 percent in the fiscal year of 2009.

This is something government suppliers will have to be cognizant of as officials continue to increase their efforts to become more efficient with public money. Implementing accounts receivable best practices, reducing payment processing times and taking the necessary steps to become PCI compliant are just a few of the ways vendors can help.

This will become increasingly important, according to Comptroller Danny Werfel, as the government works to achieve President Barack Obama's goals. The president had initially set a target of $50 billion, so the fact the country came so close means that federal offices will become even more stringent in 2013.

Werfel wrote about the advancements made under the Obama administration in a recent blog post.

"When the President took office, the rate of wasteful government-wide improper payments was on the rise," Werfel writes. "Since then, the President has taken forceful steps to cut down on improper payments, such as issuing an executive order putting in place new measures to increase transparency and hold agency officials accountable to the American public, directing agencies to intensify and expand efforts to recover improper payments, establishing a 'Do Not Pay' list for agencies to check before making payments and signing into law the landmark Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act."

It's up to vendors to ensure they are following all regulations as they pertain to invoicing and payment processing. Working with a B2B and B2G payments provider can provide suppliers with the tools they need to become more efficient and more secure with customer information.

by Ty Hardison

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